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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Discussion about photodiode architectures for space applications
Author(s): O. Gravrand; G. Destefanis; C. Cervera; J.-P. Zanatta; N. Baier; A. Ferron; O. Boulade

Paper Abstract

Detection for space application is very demanding on the IR detector: all wavelengths, from visible-NIR (2- 3um cutoff) to LWIR (10-12.5um cutoff), even sometimes VLWIR (15um cutoff) may be of interest. Moreover, various scenarii are usually considered. Some are imaging applications where the focal plane array (FPA) is used as an optical element to sense an image. However, the FPA may also be used in spectrometric applications where light is triggered on the different pixels depending on its wavelength. In some cases, star pointing is another use of FPAs where the retina is used to sense the position of the satellite.

In all those configurations, we might distinguish several categories of applications:
• low flux applications where the FPA is staring at space and the detection occurs with only a few number of photons.
• high flux applications where the FPA is usually staring at the earth. In this case, the black body emission of the earth and its atmosphere ensures usually a large number of photons to perform the detection.

Those two different categories are highly dimensioning for the detector as it usually determines the level of dark current and quantum efficiency (QE) requirements. Indeed, high detection performance usually requires a large number of integrated photons such that high QE is needed for low flux applications, in order to limit the integration time as much as possible. Moreover, dark current requirement is also directly linked to the expected incoming flux, in order to limit as much as possible the SNR degradation due to dark charges vs photocharges. Note that in most cases, this dark current is highly depending on operating temperature which dominates detector consumption. A classical way to mitigate dark current is to cool down the detector to very low temperatures.

This paper won't discuss the need for wavefront sensing where the number of detected photons is low because of a very narrow integration window. Rigorously, this kind of configuration is a low flux application but the need for speed distinguishes it from other low flux applications as it usually requires a different ROIC architecture and a photodiode optimized for high response speed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 November 2017
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 10563, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2014, 105632E (17 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2304266
Show Author Affiliations
O. Gravrand, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
G. Destefanis, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
C. Cervera, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
J.-P. Zanatta, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
N. Baier, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
A. Ferron, CEA-LETI-Minatec Campus (France)
O. Boulade, CEA-IRFU-SAp, CEA Saclay (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10563:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2014
Zoran Sodnik; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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